I have been waiting for this day for a long time - specifically, a bright, sunny, warm Sunday. Just right for an early morning ride down the Garden State Parkway to the Flaky Tart Bakery in Atlantic Highlands. For months, I've had a little scrap of paper with the bakery address sitting on my desk staring at me - as if to say, "come on, already - let's go!" Today was the day.
And worth the wait it was. What luscious treats await inside this petite store! Everything looked fabulous, from the traditional Crumb Cake to the gorgeous Coconut Cake.
I had read somewhere that Flaky Tart had cracked the code on scones - no dry, hard hockey pucks here - so when I spotted the Chocolate Cherry Scones perched on the display stand, I knew one of them was going home with me. But I also noticed that they offered Ham and Gruyere Croissants so I figured a little protein was in order before my pastry indulgence.
There is only a little counter with a few stools alongside the front window of the shop so we gathered up our purchases and headed to the car. There, we ripped into the croissants - flaky, buttery layers with a delicious pocket of ham and gruyere cheese tucked inside. This took me back to the quintessential croissants I sampled in Paris a few years ago.
On to the main show: the scones! I somehow managed to wait until we got home to try them. Poured another cup of my favorite "Hair Bender" coffee from Stumptown Coffee Roasters and headed to the deck. This scone was so moist with fat, juicy cherries and rich chocolate morsels (photo below). Totally satisfying and so indulgent - just me in the warm sun with my coffee and fabulous scone - ahhhhhh.
But wait, there's more! After a lovely Sunday evening dinner at a local restaurant (Nicola's in Totowa, NJ), we bypassed the restaurant desserts because waiting at home from the Flaky Tart was a Bavarian Cream Brioche and a Chocolate Macaroon Kiss. Just saying the names of these pastries makes my little baker's heart skip a beat!
The Brioche (shown above) was beautiful - rich, flavorful brioche dough with a sprinkling of crystal sugar on top and the delicate Bavarian cream center - unbelievable!
But the jewel in the crown was the Chocolate Macaroon Kiss. Now I've had great macaroons before - indeed, the King of all macaroons (IMHO) at Maison du Chocolat in Paris. But this, this was a mound of wonderful coconut shreds topped with a kiss of chocolate. When you bit into the hard chocolate shell, a ganache of soft, dark, rich chocolate melted out onto the coconut to create the most wonderful taste sensation in your mouth. This was pure pastry heaven.
It's probably a good thing that the Flaky Tart is not too close to me, it could be dangerous. But so worth the trip on a beautiful Sunday in New Jersey and sometimes a little pastry indulgence is a good thing.
The Flaky Tart
145 1st Avenue
Atlantic Highlands, NJ
no web site